Ireland's Genealogical Gazette (October 2008)

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					ISSN 1649-7937

Cumann Geinealais na hÉireann

Ireland’s Genealogical Gazette
(incorporating “The Genie Gazette”)
Vol. 3 No. 10

October : Deireadh Fómhair 2008

Lest We Forget What Do We Commemorate?
On Friday October 10th the peoples of Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin and Caergybi (Holyhead), North Wales, came together to mark the 90th anniversary of the sinking of the mail-boat, RMS Leinster, on the 10th October 1918 with the loss of over five hundred lives. This event was built on the success of the commemoration of the 85th anniversary in 2003, the later raising of an anchor of the vessel as a permanent memorial and finally, on the issuance of a commemorative postage stamp this year. The event was largely the brainchild of Philip Lecane who researched the sinking of the vessel by the German U-Boat UB-123. A fine book on the subject was published by Philip L ecane in 2005 ”Torpedoed! - The R.M.S. Leinster Disaster”. Reportedly the organizers are now considering the possibility of hosting an annual event to commemorate this tragedy. However, the issue of what to commemorate or not to commemorate needs careful consideration. Commemoration is not mere public spectacle nor simply a piece of state sponsored street theatre, it says a lot about us as a people, who we are, our values and aspirations. Indeed, an open public debate on the issue is long overdue. In the next few months some important 90th and 100th anniversaries will probably go by unnoticed in Ireland. Certainly the 90th anniversary of the armistice of November 11th 1918 will be suitably marked throughout Europe including Ireland. But will the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Irish Women’s Franchise League by Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington and Margaret Cousins on November 11th 1908 be marked anywhere? Or indeed will the 90th anniversary of the enactment by the Westminster Parliament of the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act, on November 21st 1918, which enabled women to sit in the British House of Commons for the first time, be overlooked in our calendar of worthy anniversaries for commemoration? Surprisingly, the fact that it was an Irishwomen, Countess Markievicz, who was the first women elected to Westminster seems to have been forgotten in the “official” British history of their parliament preferring to accord the American born Nancy Witcher Langhorne Astor with that honour because, unlike Markievicz, she took her seat in the House of Commons. Astor was elected in 1919, whilst Markievicz was elected in the UK General Election of December 1918. This was the last All-Ireland General Election and the one that returned 73 Sinn Féin members on an abstentionist platform out of a total 105 Irish seats at Westminster. The electorate also returned 25 Unionists, 6 Home Rulers and 1 Independent Unionist. This was the turning point in modern Irish history that eventually led to Irish independence. So is the 90th anniversary of this General Election worthy of commemoration? Or will our Teachtaí Dála (MPs) and Senators be marking the 90th anniversary of the first meeting of Dáil Éireann on January 21st 1919 and especially, the Irish Declaration of Independence made on that day? Indeed, is it possible that this important anniversary will be simply overlooked because our legislators will still be on their Christmas/New Year break on January 21st 2009. No doubt in other nations such an important anniversary would be marked by a special meeting of parliament or some other act of commemoration. Isn’t the courage, vision and determination of the men and women of the First Dáil wholly deserving of our commemoration?

GENEALOGY HERALDRY VEXILLOLOGY SOCIAL HISTORY Heritage Matters Book Reviews Open Meetings News & Queries

Georgian Dublin 2

What’s in a Placename?


Society Publications on CD James Scannell Reports..


Irish America—Spoiled for Choice
Last month the Gazette carried a report on the Irish ancestry of Senator Barack Obama the Democratic Party candidate in the US presidential election. But it now seems that Irish America is simply spoiled for choice as each of the candidates can claim Irish ancestry. Senator John McCain, the Republican Party candidate claims a Scots-Irish background possibly from Co. Donegal, while his running mate Alaskan Governor, Sarah Palin, can trace her ancestors back to Strokestown, Co. Roscommon. Not to be outdone, Obama’s running mate, Senator Joe Biden, has Irish ancestry on his mother’s side. Whether any of the 40 million or so Irish Americans consider the ancestry of their future president and vicepresident to be of any importance whatsoever is unclear. But from a historical perspective, at least nineteen American presidents, with the notable exception of Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and Clinton, were all of ScotsIrish ancestry. So whichever of the candidates is to occupy the White House next year the Irish connection will be strong as ever. Indeed, the publication of the details of the Irish ancestry of each of the candidates has reawakened an interest in family history amongst Irish Americans and long may this continue. In Ireland, the villages and towns with a connection to the various candidates are gearing up for the inevitable boost in tourism that would follow a visit by the new President or Vice-President to the land of their ancestors. Could it be that more than a few pubs will change names following the presidential election?


Précis of the September Lecture Diary Dates & Members’ Interests Biographical Dictionary of Irish Quakers




Monthly Newsletter of the Genealogical Society of Ireland

ISSN 1649-7937

Georgian Dublin
Edited by Gillian O’Brien & Finola O’Kane
“Georgian Dublin” edited by Gillian O’Brien and Finola O’Kane (ISBN 978-1-84682-122-6 208pp hardback Price €50) is a new interdisciplinary collection of essays published by Four Courts Press of Dublin which brings the less obvious and sometimes overlooked elements of the history of our capital city to light. The editors are both lecturers at University College Dublin—O’Brien at the School of Art History and Cultural Policy and O’Kane, a lecturer in architecture. Each of the thirteen other contributors is also a lecturer or completing a PhD, including two IRCHSS (Irish Research Council for the Humanities & Social Sciences) scholars. The mix of disciplines and indeed, styles, make this volume a very enjoyable and accessible read. When we think of Georgian Dublin most of us tend to concentrate on the architectural heritage of the city and maybe, nothing else. Dublin city was the second city of the British Empire during the 18th century. A confident and vibrant capital of the Kingdom of Ireland which enjoyed legislative independence from 1783 until the Act of Union with Great Britain of 1801 ushered in a long decline that was only halted during independence in the early 20th century. Gillian O’Brien’s essay on visitors’ perceptions of Dublin, 1800-1830 brings us into the world of the “grand tour” of Europe undertaken grandees and diarists of the age, from whom, we receive a vivid picture of the city. Sarah Foster’s essay on retailing, consumption and economic nationalism in Dublin, 1720-1785 has a intriguingly modern feel to it as foreign competition, protectionism and free trade are all discussed. Vandra Costello’s essay on the green spaces and recreation in Georgian Dublin brings us into a world and etiquette of promenading on fashionable streets or enclosed gardens. Partying seemed to be order of the day, for example, in 1767 an elaborate breakfast for the Marquis of Kildare at the newly laid out gardens at the Rotunda where over 2,500 bottles of wine were drunk. Lisa-Marie Griffith’s essay on merchant utilisation of the position of Lord Mayor, 1760-1800 is an interesting account on social mobility, if only through the power and influence of commerce. The order of precedence enjoyed by the Lord Mayor was not afforded to any other commoner in the Kingdom. Stephen O’Connor’s essay on the Volunteers of Dublin, 1778-1784 brings the political sphere of the age to light as an Anglo-Irish, Protestant and loyal nationalism prepared to defend its liberties in the face of a French invasion. Colum Kenny’s essay on the relocation of the King’s Inns to Constitution Hill shows that little has changed in the planning system over the centuries with speculators and developers creaming matters at the public expense and, of course, the inevitable charge of a conflict of interest against a member of the King’s Inns, John Egan. Niamh Nolan’s essay on special juries in Dublin, 1725-1833 provides a relatively detailed account of the operations of the special juries and their membership, including the merchant classes of Dublin. Finola O’Kane’s essay on Dublin’s Georgian suburbia gives us a wonderful glimpse of areas around the city as depicted by selftaught Dublin born landscape painter, John Fisher (d. 1809). A man whose contribution to the development of Irish tourism should be commemorated next year on the 200th anniversary of his death. Alison FitzGerald’s essay on goldsmiths in 18th century Dublin is a journey into a very special class of purveyors to the nobility and gentry, which also included a women, Jane Keene, who carried on the business of her late husband to support herself and her five children. Alison Douglas’s essay on Dublin in the fiction of the later 18th century reveals a literary world totally overlooked by later generations. This is exemplified by the anonymous publication in 1796 of the novel “The History of Ned Evans” a romance centred on the eponymous hero and Welshman. Sharon Murphy on Maria Edgeworth’s representations of Georgian Dublin follows on Douglas’s theme. Julie Anne Stevens’s essay on views of Georgian Dublin deals with the literary descriptive and the artistic impressions of the city. W. J. McCormack’s essay the library of Edward Worth gives the origins to one of the cultural jewels of Dublin city. Johanna Archbold’s essay on James More and the publication of Encyclopaedia Britannia in Ireland, 1790-1800 deals with publishing and printing; and concluding with Michelle Mangan’s fine essay on the 1832 cholera epidemic in the cities of Dublin and Limerick. MM

What’s in a Placename?
Fiontar, based at Dublin City University and The Placenames Branch of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs have created a database of Ireland’s placenames— The Placenames Database of Ireland was launched at the beginning of October 2008. This resource is suitable for use by journalists and translators, students and teachers, historians and researchers in genealogy. It is a public resource for Irish people at home and abroad, and for all those who appreciate the rich heritage of Irish placenames. The principal objective of the project is to make available through the Internet, Irish placenames that have been approved by the Placenames Branch, searchable under both Irish and English versions. The following additional features were also developed: a system to enable simultaneous Irish-English and English-Irish translation of lists of placenames. Sound recordings of some placenames which will be added to on a phased basis. Information notes pertaining to certain placenames. Scanned images of some of the historical source material has been included on the site under ‘Archival records.’ Some of these records will be input gradually in a searchable form on the public interface. The second phase includes management of the database and further development of the resource. Editorial work will continue on existing material already in the database and further work on sound files and inputting of historical records in searchable format will be carried out. The following additional features will also be developed: mapping tools, an improved search facility, educational resources, explanatory notes on features and an interactive system to enable the public to submit information on placenames. Simply a wonderful resource for the genealogist!!

Due to the pressure placed on parliamentary time caused by the various legislative matters arising out of the global banking crisis, the economic downturn and the early budget, Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú, has decided to put back the publication of the Statistics (Heritage Amendment) Bill, 2008 until later this year. The purpose of the Bill is to have the 1926 census of Ireland released for research at the National Archives. A detailed account of the campaign for the release of the 1926 census is carried in the current issue of “History Ireland” see

Society Publications on CD
The ever increasing costs of printing and postage both here in Ireland and in Great Britain has forced many family history societies to review their publication policies and programmes. Some have exited the publication arena completed which is regrettable though, nevertheless completely understandable as costs mount. Therefore, Board of this Society had some hard decisions to make on our own publication programme and it decided to make many of our publications available on CD. Thanks to the hard work of Barry O’Connor and Liam Mac Alasdair, the Society’s first publication on CD was launched last month. This new CD contains all three volumes of the Memorial Inscriptions of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown, Co. Dublin, Ireland – Vol. 1 includes the following graveyards:- Barrington’s Burial Ground; Blackrock College; Dominican Convent, Dún Laoghaire; Old Glencullen; Kiltiernan Church of Ireland; Loughlinstown; Old Connaught; Rathmichael (Old Church); St. Brigid’s Church of Ireland and Tully Graveyard. Vol. 2 is a special publication on the Friends Burial Ground, Temple Hill, Blackrock and Vol. 3 contains the following graveyards: Carmelite Monastery; Carrickbrennan Cemetery; Kill of the Grange Cemetery and Sion Hill Cemetery. This CD is fully searchable and easy to use. Normally these three volumes would cost €7.00 each plus postage, however, this new CD has been launched at a special introductory price of just €15.00 including postage. To obtain a copy send a cheque for €15.00 (payable to the Society) to the address (Director of Finance) on the bottom of page 3 of this newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter of the Genealogical Society of Ireland

ISSN 1649-7937

James Scannell Reports...
REMAINS DATE TO THE FAMINE In September human remains discovered during drainage works being carried out by Tipperary North Riding County Council at the back of houses at Tower Hill, Borrisokane, Co. Tipperary, led to the suspension of work and the attendance of the State Pathologist Dr. Marie Cassidy. Local residents believe that the remains may date back to the Famine as a workhouse opened in 1853 near where they were found. STATUE TO IRISH BALLOONIST On Sunday 28th September a statute to 18th century balloonist Richard Crosbie, executed by sculptor Rory Breslin, was unveiled by Councillor Mary Frehill in Ranelagh Gardens in Dublin from where Ireland’s first manned balloon ascent took place in 1785. Crosbie hoped to cross the Irish Sea but only got as far as Clontarf at the northern shore of Dublin Bay. PROTESTANT MISSIONS IN CONNEMARA Miriam Moffitt’s book “Soupers & Jumpers - The Protestant Missions in Connemara, 1848-1937” published by Nonsuch Publishing was launched at the end of September. This book, based on her doctoral thesis, looks at the establishment of Protestant Missions in Connemara during the Famine which saved the lives of thousands who flocked to their schools and religious services to obtain food. The mission interpreted these vast attendances as proof of devout conversions and within a few years, bible schools and Protestant churches sprang up throughout Connemara. Understandably Catholic clergy viewed this as a threat to the souls of their congregations and mounted an aggressive campaign against the mission with their most effective tactic being the total ostracism of converts. But in reality the peasant population of Connemara were being used as pawns in a supremacy struggle between the Catholic and Protestant churches and this book focuses on their experiences and explaining why most returned to the Catholic church. WORLD WAR 1 SOLDIERS REMEMBERED A First World War memorial erected in Kilgobbin Graveyard in 1924 to commemorate 29 men from the area killed during the war was re-dedicated on Saturday 27th September at a special ceremony at which the names of those on the original war memorial plaque were reinstated with an installation of a new plaque as the names on the original one had become illegible. Driving force behind having the war memorial restored and a new name plate erected was historian and author Ken Kinsella who received funding for it from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. ARTIFACTS DESTROYED Artifacts belonging to the world famous Artane Boys Band, now called the Artane Band, were destroyed in a major fire on Sunday 7 September. The building beside St. David’s National School was gutted. Six units of the Dublin Fire Brigade succeeded in bringing the fire under control but the artifacts were lost. The band is known around the world for its regular performances at the All-Ireland Finals in Croke Park. CLOCK GETS FACELIFT The clock of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin is the oldest public clock in the city and dates back to 1500. It had been restored and completely rebuilt in the 1860’s. Since then ongoing restoration has been carried out on the clock as and when required and it’s hard to know just how much of the original clock remains. In recent years it had become hard to read the time so the face is being restored to its former glory. The restoration of the clock is part of a €1.2M restoration of the clock tower which is being funded from the cathedral’s own resources and a Heritage Council grant of €200,000. The restoration work will consist of cleaning the bell tower’s exterior surface and octagonal spire in addition to re-pointing the stone work. The interior of the bell tower will also be restored as some of the ceiling has become unstable.

Précis of the September Lecture
On Tuesday Sept. 9th John Hamrock, MGSI, gave a very interesting lecture on the subject of a county’s resources for family history research - the Roscommon experience. John spoke of his interest in genealogy and his successful completion of the course at UCD directed by well known genealogist and lecturer, Seán Murphy, MA. Detailing each of the resources available in both the county and the state’s repositories, John, outlined his journey of discovery which led to his publication of “Tracing Your Roscommon Ancestors” published by Flyleaf Press. Besides the more familiar sources for the county like the Tithe Applotments, Griffith’s Valuation and census returns, John introduced the meeting to the lesser known resources such as estate records, local religious censuses and the regimental records of the Connaught Rangers—a British Army regiment with considerable connections with the county up to its disbandment in 1922. The local repositories in Roscommon which contain resources not available elsewhere were also explored. With the aid of a PowerPoint presentation, John, not only gave a marvellous flavour of the wealth of resources available to those of Roscommon ancestry or anyone with connections to the county, but he also explained how he came to write and publish his book on tracing Roscommon ancestors. A lively question and answer session followed this very interesting lecture and indeed, we may yet see other members following John’s fine example and publishing.

Tuesday Oct. 14th Rory McKenna, Martello Towers in Ireland; Tuesday Nov. 11th the Grand Lodge of Ireland on the Archives of the Society of Freemasons as a genealogical resource. Tuesday Dec. 9th Ciara Kerrigan, Assistant Keeper, Department of Manuscripts, National Library of Ireland, Estate Records of the National Library. Any comments on the programme to:

Membership of the Genealogical Society
Membership fee renewals fall due in January each year. The Board of the Society at its November 2007 meeting conducted the normal annual review of the Membership Fee structure and under Res: 07/11/573 the Board adopted the following equalised Membership Package for 2008:- Ireland & Overseas: Offering ordinary membership of the Society, Membership Card, voting rights, use of the Society’s Archive, monthly newsletter by mail, Annual Journal by mail, and the right to purchase the Society’s publications at Special Members’ prices of up to 50% off selected publications. This also includes an optional second Membership Card for a household member, including voting rights, for an all inclusive cost of just €40.00 per annum. The modest increase in the Membership Fee, which hadn’t changed since 2004, was unavoidable as costs continued to rise sharply. The production of a biannual Journal became prohibitive when printing and postage costs eroded any savings that were to accrue in the change from a quarterly journal. Unlike many other similar organisations faced with the same problem, the Board decided to keep publishing the Society’s journal but as an annual publication only. The Membership Fee is now in line with similar organisations in Ireland. However, in many respects our Membership Package, offers considerably better value for money. You can renew your membership online at or, if you prefer, simply download the form and forward it with your remittance to the Society’s Director of Finance, Mr. Denis Ryan, MGSI, 6, St. Thomas Mead, Mount Merrion, County Dublin, Ireland.

Monthly Newsletter of the Genealogical Society of Ireland

ISSN 1649-7937
IRELAND’S GENEALOGICAL GAZETTE is published by the Genealogical Society of Ireland 11, Desmond Avenue, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland E-mail: CHY10672

Members’ Interests
An editorial decision has been taken to cease publishing general research queries in the Gazette and to replace that section with one dealing with Members’ Interests. This facility will be directly linked to the Society’s website inasmuch as only new entries will be published in the Gazette and then “banked” on a database to be developed on the Society’s website. The type of information will include, Surname, Forename, Dates, Occupation, Location and the name, address and E-mail address of the Member concerned. The facility will be restricted to Members of the Society who may place as many entries as they wish on this database. The Gazette will essentially “flag” new entries or any alterations to the database. Whilst, in future general research queries will not published in the Gazette, consideration will always be given to exceptional or topical research queries received. This may include queries regarding special historical or biographical research been undertaken for possible publication in the Society’s Journal or elsewhere. Items for inclusion on the Members’ Interest database should be sent by e-mail to and include the details outlined above. NOTA BENE:- Members’ Interests are only published or placed on the database at the discretion of the editor and only where a mailing address and e-mail address are provided.

Charity Reference:


Tuesday Oct. 14th & Nov. 11th 2008 Evening Open Meeting Dún Laoghaire College of Further Education Cumberland Street, Dún Laoghaire 20.00hrs—22.00hrs Wednesday Oct. 22nd & Nov. 26th 2008 Morning Open Meeting Weir’s, Lower George’s Street, Dún Laoghaire 10.30hrs—12.30hrs Contribution €3.00 p.p. (Coffee/Tea included at Morning Meetings)

Irish History, Genealogy, Local History and much more at…..

The death has taken place on September 9th 2008 of a great and loyal friend of this Society, Henry Matthews. Henry joined the Society in 1991 and was a frequent attendee at the Society’s Open Meetings and especially, the Morning Meeting from 1993. He was a very competent researcher with an attention to detail that paid dividends as he traced his family back to the early 1600s in England and to the Cromwellian soldiers in Kilkenny later in the century. Henry also had a love of trade union history and was extremely knowledgeable on the subject. His research advice and tips were greatly valued by many in the Society. Our sincere condolences go to Henry’s wife and family. RIP. MM

A Biographical Dictionary of Irish Quakers
(Second Edition) by Richard S. Harrison
Well another fine gem for genealogists, social historians and students of the development of Irish industry has been published by Four Courts Press of Dublin. “A Biographical Dictionary of Irish Quakers” by Richard S. Harrison (ISBN 978-1-84682-100-4 260pp hardback Price €50) is a wonderful read for any student of Irish history. Most biographical dictionaries are simply reference works to be consulted as required. However, Harrison’s style sets this publication apart as it’s a joy to read linking many of the important events or innovations in our past to the hard work, dedication and sheer ingenuity of Irish Quakers. People like Mary Leadbeater (1758-1826) of Ballitore, poet and author of considerable note and regular correspondent of the great Irish philosopher Edmund Burke who was a past pupil of her father’s school at Ballitore. Her insights and commentaries on the Ireland of the late 18th and early 19th centuries are vivid and indeed, harrowing, especially regarding the bloodshed of the Great Rebellion of 1798. Or indeed, the disturbing account of Mary Pike (1776-1832) who is cheerfully commemorated in the song Merrily Kiss the Quaker which was based on a grimly memorable event of 1797. She was abducted by Sir Henry Brown Hayes and forced into marriage. During the ceremony she flung the ring from her finger and eventually managed to escape. Her father put up a reward for the capture of the abductor who was eventually brought to trial and sent to Botany Bay. The Quaker presence in Nationalist Ireland has always been strong with people like Bulmer Hobson (1883-1969) who was a member of the Irish Volunteers and even, at the age of 19, helped run a hurling club on the Falls Road, Belfast and James Haughton (1795-1873) a supporter of Daniel O’Connell and a Young Irelander. Others featured in the world of education and science like Richard Manliffe Barrington (1849-1915) who was a driving force in the development of natural science in Ireland. The Dublin Naturalists’ Field Club largely owe its foundation to his exertions and indeed, his collection of mounted specimens of birds is one of the major exhibits of the Natural History Museum. The cultural life of the country also claimed many Irish Quakers like William Mortimer Glynn (Liam Mag Fhlionn) (1895-1993) who was a teacher of considerable ability and a ardent promoter of the Irish language. He was open to the wider cultural currents that his familiarity with Irish encouraged, including leading group discussions on the philosophy of Teilhard de Chardin in Irish. He donated his large library to Queen’s University, Belfast. Names associated with Ireland’s industrial and economic heritage proliferate the pages of this Biographical Dictionary, names like Jacobs, Bewleys and Pims. For those studying the origin and distribution of surnames in Ireland this volume provides details on the English origins of the of the vast majority of the Irish Quaker surnames mostly dating from the Cromwellian and Williamite plantations. It also provides a glimpse of the level of intermarriage with the native Gaelic Irish and conversation to Quakerism over the centuries. Converts like Professor David Green (Dáithí Ó hUaithne) (1915-1981) of Trinity College Dublin, a noted authority on the Irish language and Seán Harrington (1900-1976) a veteran of the War of Independence who was imprisoned with Éamon de Valera, TD. Many of the names contained in Harrison’s book are also included on this Society’s recently published CD (see page 2). This Biographical Dictionary is a wonderful testament to the enormous contribution to Ireland made by the Irish Quakers. MM

The Society’s archival collections which were based at the restored Martello Tower at Seapoint, County Dublin, were to be transferred last month to a temporary location in Dún Laoghaire. The Board wishes to thank the members who participated in the mammoth task of moving the archival collections. This relocation was required in order that the Martello Tower can be fully surveyed to ascertain what works would be necessary to make the building atmospherically suitable for the Archive. In the meantime the Board is making contingency plans for the possibility that the building will be deemed unsuitable for the archive. These plans include the possibility of linking up with a third level college and locating the archive within the college’s library. The temporary location at 111, Lower George’s Street, Dún Laoghaire enables the archive to be fully catalogued and made accessible to our members. The cataloguing will require a number of volunteers and the Archivist, Séamus O’Reilly, MGSI, asks those wishing to assist with the sorting and cataloguing of the archival collections at 111, Lower George’s Street, Dún Laoghaire, to make contact with the General Secretary, Michael Merrigan, at

Monthly Newsletter of the Genealogical Society of Ireland

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